Don’t you just hate last minute dropouts? Today’s longshot was intended to be Nizar Trimech to defeat Nathan Heaney by decision at 10/1. Unfortunately, the Stoke native pulled out of the bout yesterday. It is a shame as I genuinely felt the Frenchman had a significantly better chance at pulling off the upset than the odds implied.
So, change of plan. Jason Cunningham taking on Zolani Tete at 122lbs is a fascinating fight. Former two-weight world champion, Tete, has operated at a much higher level than his rival, but is now 34, has only fought one round in over two-and-a-half years, has never boxed above 118lbs and in May, his mother passed away. Grief is a peculiar thing; it can motivate some to reach new heights in honour of their departed loved one, while it causes others to fall apart at the seams.
What effect it has on the former IBF super-flyweight and WBO bantamweight champion remains to be seen, but it is worth noting that he looked in great shape on the scales.
Tete’s power did not carry the same threat at 118lbs as it did at 115lbs, and it is unlikely that he will be able to stop the durable Cunningham. The ‘Iceman’ has had a bit more pop on his shots as of late, but this feels like a distance fight.
The question marks surrounding Tete make this bout difficult to predict, but it appears to be a fight between boxers who are charting in different directions.
The big price play here is the draw at 16/1. As I previously mentioned in this column, the U.K. is currently one of the worst places in the world for an away fighter to get a fair shake on the cards, as such the draw is worth backing, even if it is just a cover bet.
When a fight goes to the scorecards, you never know what will happen.
Given all the factors laid out above, I am surprised that Cunningham is a slight underdog here, having initially opened as the favourite. Yes, Tete used to be very good, but he lost something when he moved up to bantamweight. Against Cunningham, the South African will not have the physical advantages he usually enjoys. Being the house fighter and with form on his side, I think Cunningham at 21/20 is worth including in parlays.
Joe Joyce returns to the ring after almost a year layoff to take on Christian Hammer. A wrist injury required surgery after ‘The Juggernaut’s’ stoppage win over Carlos Takam. As such, it may take the 2016 Rio Olympic silver medallist time to shake off some ring rust. Hammer is durable and will likely take Joyce into the later rounds. Betfred are offering a Boxing Social Bet Boost on Joyce to win in rounds 7-12 at 6/4.
The double is priced at over 4/1.
Lightweight prospect Mark Chamberlian takes a step up in class against former European featherweight champion, Marc Vidal. The big-puncher from Portsmouth has hardly put a foot wrong in his 10 fights to date and is on a three-fight knockout streak. The bookmakers expect that run to continue, but Vidal is a decent fighter. It is possible he is crafty enough to survive to hear the final bell. Prospect’s power is often overrated, as such the play here is Chamberlian by decision at 15/8.
If you like all three selections, the treble is available at over 13/1.